It was with great interest that I read the letter to the editor by a local resident knocking the new Streets of Brentwood mall, the mayor, and the City in the December 12, 2008 edition of the Brentwood Press. There are a couple of comments I would agree with, but I strongly would be in disagreement with the overall tone of the writer's message.
Let's first address the new Streets of Brentwood mall. Brentwood is very lucky to have the new mall, and all of the residents of Brentwood should be pleased about having a quality mall in the city. Will Streets take away some local business? Yes, but it is keeping millions of local residents' dollars right here in Brentwood. Dollars that are currently being spent out of the area, in Pleasanton, Concord and Walnut Creek malls.
The real asset of the mall to Brentwood is the new mall is attracting thousands of customers from nearby cities of Bay Point, Antioch, Pittsburg, Rio Vista and Tracy, and bringing those new outside dollars to Brentwood. And I know these people are spending money at other Brentwood businesses, not just the new mall. This generates new tax dollars for the City of Brentwood to cover services for Brentwood citizens.
Now let's look at downtown Brentwood. Yes, I would strongly agree that the downtown needs a new face, new infrastructure in and under the streets, and new wider sidewalks with new trees and landscapes. It needs a fresh appearance, while not losing its current character.
To succeed, downtown businesses need people, customers, not just those passing through, but a permanent employment base. The key anchor to Brentwood's future downtown employment base is a City Hall/Civic Center; a Civic Center that the community will proudly identify with as their City Hall. Not as it is now: a series of portable buildings, somehow attached to each other, with employees sitting on top of each of other. The employees of a City Hall downtown create a base of customers for the downtown business, retail and restaurants.
In addition, City Hall creates its own clientele, which are then potential additional customers for the downtown businesses. And another point: if the City does not invest in itself and our downtown, why would a private investor invest in the downtown?
We should all be pulling for the success of all Brentwood businesses, including Streets, so we can start a positive upward spiral of business dollars and tax dollars, rather than knocking some businesses and the City that provides us with the civic services we all demand. If we all pull together forward, we can succeed in making Brentwood a better place to live, work and do business.
Brentwood Chamber of Commerce CEO